Understanding the User Experience

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are…

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I would like to know more about the User Experience – what is it? How do you describe it? How do you measure it? 

During my time as Manager of UX lab in National College of Ireland, I was involved in over 25 UX projects ranging from usability testing of on-line maths and accountancy support programmes through to analysing the search behaviour of Google users.

One development that I particularly found very interesting during that time was how important the emotional side of the engagement was to users.
For example, we would test two applications that performed similarly in terms of task completion and success, ease of use etc.  yet users would much prefer experience of one the applications over the other.    Why?

We see that as technology is becoming more accessible and users more technologically sophisticated, that users are increasingly looking past the mere functionality of an application and seeking to engage in interactions that are not only usable but also offer a more meaningful positive experience.   But how do we describe it? and begin to analyse it?

Of course we know users’ experiences vary on context, the product and user themselves.   Each user will bring with them their prior experiences, expectations and their values and beliefs; they have their own story.

As someone once said  ‘ we don’t see things as they are, we see things we are’,

And while we may not have a complete understanding  yet of what that story is,  the literature suggests that much of this engagement is psychological in nature and dependant on users’ attitudes, emotions  and feelings.   I believe psychology and scientific psychological research methods have a lot to offer us in better understanding this part of the users’ journey.,, and this is what this blog will be about 🙂

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